Key dates regarding the discovery of classified documents related to President Joe Biden, based on statements by the White House, the president, his lawyers and Attorney General Merrick Garland:
— 20 Jan. 2017: Biden’s two terms as Vice President to President Barack Obama end.
— Mid 2017-2019: Biden periodically uses an office at the Penn Biden Center, a Washington think tank.
— 20 Jan. 2021: Biden is sworn in as president.
– November 2, 2022: Biden’s personal attorneys come across Obama-Biden administration documents in a locked cabinet as they pack up files as they prepare for the closure of Biden’s office at the Penn Biden Center. They report to the National Archives.
— 3 Nov. 2022: The National Archives takes possession of the documents.
— 4 Nov. 2022: The National Archives informs the Ministry of Justice about the documents.
— November 8, 2022: midterm elections.
— November-December 2022: Biden’s lawyers search the president’s homes in Wilmington, Delaware, and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, to see if there are any other documents from his vice presidency.
— November 9, 2022: The FBI begins an assessment of whether classified information has been mishandled.
— 14 Nov. 2022: Garland commissions U.S. attorney John Lausch to investigate whether special counsel should be appointed to investigate the case.
December 20, 2022: Biden’s personal counsel informs Lausch that a second batch of classified documents has been discovered in the garage of Biden’s Wilmington home. The FBI goes to Biden’s home in Wilmington and secures the documents.
— January 5, 2023: Lausch informs Garland that he believes the appointment of special counsel is warranted.
— 9 Jan. 2023: TBEN News, followed by other news organizations, reveals the discovery of the Penn Biden Center documents. The White House acknowledges that “a small number” of Obama-Biden administration documents, including some with secret markings, were found at the center. It makes no mention of the documents found in Wilmington.
— 10 Jan. 2023: Biden tackles the document issue for the first time. At a press conference in Mexico City, he said he was “amazed to learn there were documents” at the Penn Biden Center and doesn’t know what’s in them. He makes no mention of the documents found in Wilmington.
— 11 Jan. 2023: Biden’s lawyers complete their search of Biden’s residences and find another secret document in the president’s personal library in Wilmington. NBC News and other news organizations are revealing that a second batch of documents was found at a location other than the Penn Biden Center.
— 12 Jan. 2023: Biden’s lawyer informs Lausch that an additional secret document has been found. Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, publicly reveals for the first time that documents were found in Biden’s Wilmington garage and one document in an adjoining room. Garland announces that he has appointed Robert Hur, a former US attorney in the Trump administration, as special counsel.
— 14 Jan. 2023: The White House reveals that Biden’s lawyers found more classified documents at his home than previously known. Sauber said in a statement that a total of six pages of classified documents were found during a search of Biden’s private library. Sauber said Biden’s personal attorneys, who had no security clearances, called off their search after finding the first page Wednesday night. Sauber found the remaining material Thursday when he facilitated its collection by the Justice Department.
– 19 Jan. 2023: A frustrated Biden said there is “none there” when he was constantly questioned about the discovery of the documents. “We found that a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place,” Biden told reporters who questioned him during a tour of storm damage in California. “We immediately turned them over to the archives and the Justice Department.” Biden said he was “fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly.”
“I think you’ll find there’s nothing there,” he said. “There’s none there.”
– 21 Jan. 2023: Biden’s lawyers say the FBI searched Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware and found additional documents with secret markings and also seized some of his handwritten notes. The search lasted nearly 13 hours. The FBI took six items containing documents with secret markings, said Bob Bauer, the president’s personal attorney. The items include Biden’s time in the Senate and vice presidency, while the notes date back to his time as vice president, he said.